THE SWARM (1978)
Article 2423 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-14-2007
Posting Date: 3-31-2008
Directed by Irwin Allen
Featuring Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark
Mutant African killer bees invade Texas! Michael Caine yells a lot! Ben Johnson and Fred MacMurray compete for the affection of Olivia de Havilland! Slim Pickens threatens the military’s ability to use the bathroom! Richard Widmark gets his butt kicked by a mess of bugs, and develops a fondness for sunflower seeds! Henry Fonda shows us he can sweat and grimace while hallucinating giant bees!
The king of the disaster movie manages to achieve disaster with this one; it was both a critical and financial failure. Actually, I think the special effects are decent, the score is good, and it makes nice use of color. But the script is a train wreck, full of overheated and unbelievable dialogue, and the many name actors that make up the cast struggle valiantly but unsuccessfully with it. My heart goes out to Ben Johnson, Olivia de Havilland and Fred MacMurray in particular, who are forced to deal with the clumsiest romantic triangle I’ve ever seen, and even the script seems to get its fill of it when it puts an end to it through the use of a particularly appropriate (especially given my description of the script above) plot device. The rest of the cast deals with the hilariously bad dialogue with varying success. Outside of the ones listed above, other cast members include Richard Chamberlain, Lee Grant, Jose Ferrer, Patty Duke, Bradford Dillman, and, as a special bonus, Cameron Mitchell, who has appeared in so many bad movies during his career that he should feel right at home with this one. Apparently, Irwin Allen refused to talk about this movie.